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  • Writer's pictureLynn VanderWielen, PhD, MPH

Samahra(rise) - A free app for multiracial teens, by multiracial teens

This week our team is excited to launch samahra(rise) which is a free app community for multiracial/multicultural/mixed teens, by multiracial/multicultural/mixed teens. We have been working on planning, creating, and testing our app for over a year and we are incredibly excited to invite multiracial/multicultural/mixed teens into a safe and inclusive community that is dedicated to the affirmation, validation, and celebration of multiracial identities. Our Youth Advisory Council drew inspiration from across disciplines to create daily creative prompts, affirmations, and a comprehensive resource guide to support the health and well-being of the multicultural teen community. Community members also contribute posts that are moderated by our team.

To celebrate this milestone, today’s blog post examines a recently published dissertation that explores the benefits and challenges of virtual communities for multiracial college students. This qualitative study collected data from 10 multiracial college students from across the US and shares several themes that surface around how multiracial college students use social media to build and maintain community.


First, study participants shared that social media offers an opportunity to find others that you relate to and to feel validation when finding similar experiences as multiracial individuals. Popular social media platforms use complex algorithms to decide what users see. At Samahra we have a dedicated focus on multiracial individuals and families, such that our platform was designed with this community at the center. We do not want or need complex algorithms to create feeds that focus on multiracial joy, as this is our center. This is our purpose.


Second, study participants shared that social media can be used to find others with similar life experiences and foster a sense of belonging and create social ties. This is especially important for multiracial teens who may not live in areas with many other multiracial families. The samahra(rise) app was designed as a place where multiracial teens belong, are celebrated, and find camaraderie.


Third, this publication shares research by other scholars finding that online communities can form to support identity exploration and expression, to establish racial safe-havens, and a place for solidarity, advocacy, organization, and education. The Samahra team is deeply committed to the notion that multiracial individuals are worthy of love, safety, protection, and happiness. The samahra(rise) app is dedicated to equity and justice at its core - we envision a world where multiracial individuals are always seen as whole, they are not challenged to prove their identity, and they find acceptance, belonging, and safety in the world.


The article also highlights the potential complications of social media as related to creating a community for multiracial individuals. It is understood that social media can be used for bullying, othering, and racism. To minimize opportunities for these complications, we have created a moderated space with fun opportunities to react to posts and share experiences, but we limit one-on-one communication. Community members can share links to other social media sites where they can direct message if they so chose. This was intentional as we want multiracial teens to know and feel that the app is a safe environment. It is a breath of fresh air from the seemingly limitless toxicity in the world today.

The dissertation ends with the following note from the author and its sentiment aligns with our work at Samahra:

“At its core, this dissertation is a letter to the Multiracial community. It is an affirmation to our people that we exist. We are enough. We are loved.”

We are so excited to launch samahra(rise) and for the honor to create an intentional space for multiracial teens.

The dissertation article can be found here.

Citation: Luna, Rachel H. Understanding Multiracial College Student Virtual Community. Diss. Colorado State University, 2022.

Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

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